How many pages would it take for you to write the story of you? This story will contain your most intimate details such as height, eye color, facial structure, heart size, hair patterns, and all the other details that make you unique. The team at Lulu learned the answer (see below) to this question when we partnered with scientist and entrepreneur Riccardo Sabatini to create The Human Code in preparation for his TED Talk: How to Read the Genome and Build a Human Being.
DNA, the blueprint for all life here on Earth is composed of four nucleic acids; adenine (A), thymine (T), cytosine (C) and guanine (G). You need about 3 billion of these to form the sequences required to build a human. As part of his TED talk, Sabatini needed a visual representation of the enormity of the human genetic coding. His idea was to print the entire genetic code for one human being as a series of books.
Printing and binding the DNA coding for one human being had never been done before. The schedule was tight, but our teams and the printer pulled together to make history.
You can view Sabatini’s TED talk here:
Although not included in the official TED talk video, at the conclusion of his presentation, Sabatini offered to give away printed volumes to attendees. Apparently, there was quite the “scrum” to get a copy.
The Human Code Project
Lulu is proud to have worked with Sabatini on his Human Code project. The books we printed for his presentation displayed the complexity of one human’s story. The books we’ve printed for nearly 1 million other humans may not be as complex, but are as equally important in telling their stories.
Answer: Did you guess 262,784 pages? That’s 175, 8.5×11 volumes printed at 8pt font. The Human Code is the first printing of the entire genome of a single human being – Craig Venter. This is the start of Chromosome 1.